tv Discussion Focuses on the Future of Afghanistan CSPAN January 10, 2017 10:22pm-11:52pm EST
the subject is right and our speakers will find are the right ones for what should be an important and exciting program. i'm kent calleder here at johns hopkins university. this is our initial program of the year. the third actually in a ser ies of programs focusing on afghanistan in the broader context of the asian region. he is with us today formerly of the civil service megs has helped tremendously in organizing this. we certainly appreciate that. you might wonder what the rational for any study center
sponsoring on the future of afghanistan and the future in the new u.s. at minudministrati might be. of course the focus is on the issue of the moment, which is the impending transition in the united states and the implications for what has been ever since the terrorist attacks on the world trade center on september 11th, 2001 now 14 -- nearly 14 years ago has been one of the principal security issues for the united states and for the world, but it also in that afghanistan lies in the midst of the largest continent in the world and the most populous and one of the most rapidly growing
is of tremendous importance for asia as well. afghanistan lies adjacent of course to china, very close to india. they have played significant roles in supporting the united states there. so we are here today to discuss those issues with a very distinguished panel that will be introduced. is here for studies. so with that we look forward to
your introductions and of course to the panel to follow. th thank you very much. >> good morning. thank you. it is a pleasure for me to introduce the panel. but before that i would like to extend my time and appreciate to ambassadors who accepted to speak at today's panel at afghanistan in the new administrati administration. the panel is that you also read briefly on the flier is wynn. ambassador wynn is at william
cunningham advised of nato issues and nuclear disarmament and reunification of germany and soviet union. cunningham was born in pennsylvania and graduated with degree in political science and psychology. cunningham is recipient of multiple awards and cunningham is a member of council in foreign relations. scott warren is director in central asia programs.
was director of lessons learned programs. you might have heard of cigar. he also served as acting director of policy and also he was responsible for advising senior officers on strategies and involvement in afghanistan and pakistan. at his time mr. warden for and served as united nations appointed commissioner for 2009.
afghanistan election the u.n. on elections in 2005 and 2006. it was a challenging time. mr. warden has been working on issues and working in the field. thank you for participating in today's panel. last but not least academy -- of government at harvard. he has served as special adviser to japan from 1997 to 2001. japan at the center he received
you very much. >> thank you very much. i think you can see we have in our panel the three participants here tremendous knowledgeable people, very distinguished careers and we look forward to hearing from them. >> thank you. i want to say a couple of words about how i hope the new administration, the trump administration will approach afghanistan? particular but also broader range of issues in that part of the world. this administration is going to have an incredibly complicated and dangerous agenda before it takes office. i won't go through all of the items.
it is quite a daunting prospect. afghanistan does not have to be one of those issues. i hope it won't be. in order to solidify itself and i hope this administration will do about afghanistan is first and foremost very early on even before it takes office i would hope it will send a clear and firm signal of american commitment to our relationship with afghanistan and to our role in maintaining the posture we have in afghanistan so there will be clarity in the region once and for all about the enduring nature of the american presence and commitment in that part of the world as long as the united states has a willing and committed partner in the government of afghanistan.
this is not a call for a blank check but it is a call for rereassurance to the afghans and our friends in the region that we intend to remain on the course that we are on now and to purr p pursue a strategy as long as the afghans themselves continue to do the hard work of stepping up and protecting their country and advancing their own very difficult process of development and reform. that kind of clarity is really essential if we are going to be able to -- we collectively, we and our partners will be able to prevail in the coming years. unfortunately that clarity has been lacking in the last couple of years. i hope it will be provided once and for all. failure do so, failure to provide that clarity will
undermind the confidence of our friends and partners and it will encourage our adversaries in the region. it will also encourage hedging behavior on the part of other actors as we are seeing today and as we have seen particularly in the last six to eight months with other countries who are involved there. this is going to be something of a conceptual challenge for this administrati administration. there is a place for unpredictability. there is no doubt about that. there has been interesting articles written about that recently. there is also a need to provide confidence and certainty to partners when we are asking them to work with us on doing things that are difficult to achieve. if we want partners and we'll need partners not just to
succeed in what we are trying to achieve in afghanistan. >> and i hope that the new president and his advisers will work to find that balance and to find that appropriate measure of clarity and commitment as well as in some respects lack of predictability on the part of the administration. the second thing i hope this administration will do early on is place afghanistan in the broader context that we are facing in what i call the greater middle east rather than
dividing it up. in the area we are involved in dealing with different but related confrontations throughout central asia and through the middle east and northern africa. afghanistan isn't an isolated problem. we can play a major role as we are now. ultimately the solution to dealing with this violent idealology has to come from within the islamic and muslim world itself. afghanistan is a part of that effort. it is a place where for better
or worse we have a history and a specific background that we have dropp develops over the years. we need to americans like short term solutions but there isn't one to this broader issue that by are trying to deal with. one of the things that i think not just the american government but most of the governments in our coalition have not done an adequate job of explaining this to their own publics. i think we owe it to the american -- the past
administration, those of us who are involved in this kind of policy discussion owe it to our publics to explain to them the nature of the problem that we are dealing with, how difficult it is going to be to overcome it and why a long-term commitment is essential in afghanistan and more broadly throughout the region. and see if we can't do a better job of being more efficient in how we are applying what is much reduced but a considerable amount of resources to dealing with the problems in afghanistan and the region.
we need to figure out a strategy, do a better job of figuring out a strategy to getting the taliban into a serious negotiation about peace in the region. in order to do that we need to effect the strategic calculations, leadership of the taliban and others but we need to effect the calculations of players in the region.
and the fourlt thing that i hope the new administration will do is take a fresh look at pakistan and our relationship with pakistan and their role in the region and the conflict. we also need to figure out a way, if we can to change the kal cue louse to ma -- kand eliminating the safe haven that they enjoy. >> almost everybody i know believes there is no military solution to this conflict. it needs to come to a political resolution in order to get to that serious negotiation we need to be able to reflect how the taliban looks at its options in the future.
it will be difficult to do that if they continue to enjoy the ability to plan and operate from within pakistan. there's a new military leadership, new administration in washington. i hope that we will take a fresh look at how we might be able to use both incentives to urge the cooperation we have been trying for to generate from pakistan. a number of us who agree is not worth what a different approach might look like. it is a different time to take a look at that.
>> just one question i had relating to what you said a couple of times about the need to shape the that stestrategic calculations. one should suppose that china certainly has any interest in the stability of pakistan that he visited there as one of his very first visits. of course they also have a huge new development program in pakistan. i wonder if you could elaborate not only on china but perhaps a little more on two of our close allies it is in terms of what we
realize you were constantly spent time in hong kong and asked what sort of a role going forward these three asian countries can play in shaping the incentives of some of the players. >> i think they can all play a role during the time that i was there. we and others spent considerable time trying to draw the chinese into a discussion about how we might cooperate better in promoting stability in afghanistan. the chinese are economically enga engaged. they began to be more diplomatically engaged during the time i was there.
it could be linked to china's advantage as well. a rail way between northern afghanistan. there is a lot of potential there. the chinese is in my experience have been pretty at avoiding taking any kind of responsibility for difficult areas like this especially when they can bring to bear on pakistan. that's one of the elements that we need to take this administration should take a closer look at. japan and korea to their credit have both been very positive and
substantial players and not so much in the politics of the region but in terms of t development and they will remain important partners as long as we provide the kind of clarity. >> so clarity is the key element in this. >> it has always been. >> thank you very much. i know many of our audience also are knowledgeable. later after we have heard from each of our distinguished participants of course we do want to engage in the dialogue
we have scott warden from the u.s. institute of peace. >> thank you very much. good morning. >> thanks for having me here. so one of the risks of following such distinguished and long experiences might sound similar. i hope it's a good thing. it reflects what has been a consensus view of the foreign policy community there there is a plan which is going to produce benefits over time. let me talk a little bit about that. there hasn't been much discussion in the campaign or transition. in some ways for someone we should continue our engagement
that might be a good thing. the things that have come up qur engagement is really important. >> the reason why it's so important, began scan is fragile and an area that has significant terrorism threats. it has the rise of isis in the region and afghanistan. this is an important area to preserve some degree of stability. and i think our policies right now do that as imperfect as they may be. i think we also see what happens when we pursue an alternative tract. there's a significant risk if we don't have a troop presence
maintained there but also a robust civilian commitment it creates security and more headaches later on. >> i was in afghanistan a few months ago, and maybe i can talk about the current fragility or political situation for a bit. i think there have been important developments since this summer in afghanistan. we have a national unity government which was formed under some controversy. there's an agreement that was brokered into unity government. which often has been fighting itself. at the same time, represents credible reformists at the helm that are people that we can work with, and we do have a government we can work with. and the better it performs, the better our relationship will be,
i think the better stability it will be. >> what you see unfolding in august when both gannny and abdullah were accusing each other of undermining the government they serve in, is i think a reluctant but broad based view among the afghan political leaders and descent among the political elite saying you needed to be replaced, either process. or through constitutional review process. those calls have quieted down considerably. i think in that, there is an opportunity for the government to work together more on implementing policies that will actually reduce corruption that will improve the economy or at least improve service delivery to people, so the afghans can
see that the government can benefit them rather than being an obstacle. >> another key issue to watch in afghanistan is the process of electoral reform, which has finally gotten underway after about two years of rank rouse debate. there's a new commission formed and they're resue viewing procedures to finally hold the parliamentary election. >> the reason why this is important this is one of the central promises the national unity government made when it was inaugurated in 2014, to hold elections, to have a new parliament and start a process to review how the government should be structured and how it should function. i think what we will see over the next several months in terms of the timing of elections, in terms of how electoral reform unfolds, whether the unity will hold or whether we're out for
more of the same. the next presidential election is in 2019. if the afghan government is to get anything done in terms of reforms and service delivery. it really does need to stay together. in the next few months. >> let me turn back to the u.s. approach to afghanistan. and what i think are keys to u.s. policy and what i hope the new administration will look at when it comes into office. it hasn't been mentioned much, i don't think afghanistan will be at the top of the policies. i think the number one thing that afghanistan and the region immediates to improve stability is assurance from the united
states from the allies, that we will remain committed over the long term. >> i think in retrospect one of the biggest factors why there wasn't progress on a peace process. while we have the surge and afterwards, there was an end date. and that both afghans and afghanistan neighbors started hedging their bets. they started to committing to foreign process in word maintaining options to support the taliban or on the afghan side pursue avenues of corruption, just in case the process fell apart. i think that finding ways to end this uncertainty and the ambassadors will know the techniques better than i. finding ways to convince afghanistan and its neighbors we're committed for the long hall, and you can't play a waiting game in order to gain
advantage around the system, that's swritly important. so therefore there should be reforms in how we spend our money, make it more efficient. at the end of the day. afghanistan will collapse if we don't have significant military assistance from the u.s. and our allies. as well as if we don't have significant civilian assistance. we need to ensure they continue. >> i think another question that the administration will deal with, and that is continuous debate within the afghanistan and regional foreign policy community is what's the theory of change, how can i make that less wonky. what is the path to success in an assist of military assistance. this is where you have a real debate and real uncertainty. and it's caused vas ilation in
policy from one approach to another and so one's school to describe it, we need military assistance, this is a war we need to win through strength. the military surge that started after obama came into office was the result of that strategy. we can use force to solve this problem. i don't personally, we see what the results of that were. is that you need an overwhelming amount of force, even more than i think our political supporters at home can commit to over time. the other side of the debate is -- this is a social problem. so we need to develop afghanistan, develop its economy deal with social relations among
people and that will reduce the drivers of conflict. that alone too is not -- i don't think a viable path, because of afghanistan's state of development, it will take years and more billions than we have available. and so really, in this policy review, it's figuring out, what is the combination of factors. i think the ambassador said this well already. what is that combination of factors to unify the sevilcivil and military efforts so you get a coherent policy going toward a clear desired end state open on that point, i think again, what all afghanistan and regional watchers tend to say is that there's not a military solution to the conflict, it has to be a peace deal. what i would propose is, when you do review afghanistan's mix of civilian and military development, rather than orienting each to their own goal of a certain level of security, or a certain amount of pressure
against the taliban, versus a certain degree of health or education, what happens when you make the one clear goal optimizing a peace deal with the taliban. that's not an answer unfortunately, i have right here. but i think providing a clear direction of policy, of the policy review, and ultimately to a policy that says optimize the peace deal that protects u.s. interests. that protects afghanistan's interest. that the allies can get behind and unify their support for. that is the way to resolve the conflict over the medium term. it won't happen in a year or two years or three. but if you don't start now, we know the peace process will take years to unfold and bear fruit, you won't get there in the end. and so optimizing our policy, civilian and military efforts toward a peace deal would be an admirable goal. the final thing i'll talk about is the regional picture. which relates to the peace
process. one of the reasons why the conflict has perpetuated for so long, is that a variety of afghanist afghanistan's neighbors as well as foreign donors support different factions in this conflict. so we're obviously supportive of the government, which is i think a good place to be. pakistan has provided safe havens. as the a.mbassador mentioned, changing pakistan's strategic calculus is essential. we don't have a lot of leverage over pakistan. we need to figure out ways to engage the neighbors. one is through the confidence that afghanistan will continue to have assistance. otherwise you need to look at the regional factors affecting the conflict. i think most significantly, pakistan's calculation is influenced by india. and so some way to look at the
larger picture of india and pakistan and as that affects afghanistan, i think is a key ingredient for success. china was mentioned earlier, that is the new -- it's not a game changer, but china's relationship with pakistan can be used in regional discussions. and china's increasing interest, both in afghanistan, where they have some state business investments, also in the larger region through their one belten road initiative. china is seeking to engage more in the world on a foreign policy basis, there are ways to engage that that could help a peace process but not solve it. the final note i would say is a cautionary one on the regional picture. that is, how u.s. relations evolve with these regional players over time. will have a significant effect
on our ability to achieve our goals in afghanistan. and so if u.s. and iran relations deyore ate, that could have an impact on afghanistan security. this needs to look -- you need to look at our afghanistan goals and the regional goals as part of our overall foreign policy picture. >> well scott, thank you very much, that was fascinating as well. one thing that i notice neither you nor ambassador cunningham mentioned, one country, and it borders on afghanistan. is russia and president-elect trump, there's some talk of a possible meeting of putin and trump. there's, of course one can certainly see the complexities
with russia having fought a long war in afghanistan, and ultimately having pulled out. i wojder what you would -- what we should say about the perspective role of russia, in afghanistan going-forward. that is the main question. another thing that did tempt me that was interesting, you talked about better service delivery. you didn't elaborate exactly what you meant there i wonder if you could say a word about that as well. >> you know, on the russia issue, i think russia is playing an increasing role in afghanistan. i think its interests are the drug trade, and drugs, opium that flows north into central asia, and ultimately into russia, is a concern and an interest more importantly is russia's concern that terrorism
within afghanistan will destabilize or otherwise export to it's sphere of influence. to protect those two perceived interests. i think that -- in terms of supporting northern fankss in a -- northern power brokers will protect the broker, but not the state. i don't think russia has a lot of leverage where a good relationship in cooperation with them will yield huge benefits for a peace process, the legacy of its invasion doesn't make it a positive partner as much. >> finally, on service delivery.
i mean, what i'm talking about basically is essential development, roots, power. health, education the key ingredients for social cohesion for economic empowerment that afghans badly need and badly want. to the extent the government can deliver these things it will gain more support. people really want security, more than anything else that's a laughter struggle. if the afghan government can make changes where they provide jobs then i think their position with the people will be stronger. the insurgency perpetuates because afghans in many areas are unsure of who they should support and who will protect
them. >> the extent they can have greater faith to provide services will lead to security as well. >> now as our final speaker, we have you ambassador wynn with us. >> we look forward to your remarks. >> i've been trying to select from my remarks, various things that haven't been said. a point that many of us in afghanistan remain. we do favor an enduring commitment by the united states, but not just by the united states. and increasingly by regional partners. and at its essence it what you want to avoid.
you want to avoid a situation where terrorists can use situations to their end. there's a return to struggle between other groups in afghanistan. and the neighbors want to avoid new waves of immigrants leaving that country. from avoiding the negative to the positive. which is the way we're going to do that, there are five pillars of areas where we have to work what is security assistance, security performance. with continued support for a good number of years probably by the u.s. and others as they strengthen their capabilities.
second is improved governance and a political process. with development in that process supporting afghan political will to do these things. economic development has to be has to need funding. the world bank did an estimate noting that in the best of circumstances, substantial amounts of international assistance are going to be needed through 2030 for afghanistan to continue hopeful development strategy. there's been a lot of progress, there's a lot more progress that's needed. and that needs you is starned help. and then the regional factor that my colleagues have both mentioned is going to be vital, both on the economic front from
these regional projects that can can help in the near term bring additional income, transit of energy, transit of goods, and then in the peace process. that this -- as everybody says, this needs to be an afghan led process. but it can be facilitated by many people and undermined by many people. both of these lead us to pakistan. as we know from recent years, and as ambassador cunningham said, ways need to be found outputted in the most diplomatic way to incentivize positive behavior by pakistan. that does require, it is going to require a review by the new administration.
how to do it. it's been a mixed bag. finally. i would say it has to be coordinated and has to have more support than it has in the past. and the effort to explain the importance of this to our public has to continue and be a very solid effort in all places. in 2016, despite a whole list of negative developments that we can go through. the international community rallied around afghanistan. nato and its partners committed to four more years international
donors committed to over $15 billion of assistance for the next four years. it was based on an understanding of mutual commitments that this one, the assistance would continue with the idea it will gradually decrease the afghan side will make specific commitments to demonstrate increased delivery. a whole bunch of different areas where we can go in and look at this in more detail, and they committed to do certain things in the next year, they committed to a regular review process, and working this through all of that is going to be very hard and very important. and again as jim said earlier too, that needs to be part of the review because the tools
that we've used and the mix of having those tools has had mixed results. some successes, and some less successful efforts. and a lot of money put in there. basically, we are now at a level of support from the international community and from the united states. which is much more sustainable than it was a few years ago. and can provide a solid foundation for this long term signal of commitment from afghanistan's partners. i fully agree with the appointments that have been made by my colleagues that we need a signal to the regional partners, and the taliban and others, that the international community and big regional players are going to stay engaged in finding a solution to this challenge of
afghanistan. and to get afghanistan to a place where it is much more of a pillar of stability over the long term. in the interim what the united states has done is moved from the notion that we're nation building, to the notion that afghanistan is a key part of our security strategy, our counter terrorism strategy for the region. and i think that is very important. but with the caveat of knowing you have to still continue this assistance in the economic area, and the development area as part of the formula. to get you to your counter terrorism stability goals over the long run it is finding that right mix that needs to be looked at in in the months ahead and continued. maybe i'll stop there since we're now at our time.
>> thank you very much. >> in view of that, we look forward to comments opinion i had just one question that really intrigues me, because it flows across all three of your comments. ambassador cunningham had stressed and mr. warden and you also the central role of pakistan, all of this, and the pakistan policy needs a review. i wonder if you could elaborate a little more. dissituation and persuasion. what their what really is needed with respect to pakistan policy,
in the skon text of the strong support and engagement that china has with pakistan. >> there's still a big divide among those people in the u.s. government. and out of the u.s. government who watch afghanistan and pakistan as to what mix may be successful in getting pakistan to change its point of view. >> anyone i have pointed to as an essential element that needs to change. how you get to that is where you get into debates. >> even on the economic side. one of the things we did with our afghan partners, with the pakistanis and others, was to
negotiate a trade and transit agreement. the trade and transit agreement. is still stuck not being fully implemented. that could be, you would think a mutually advantageous way to build ties to promote commerce, to promote growth on both sides of the border. there's a big challenge if you look at these regional transit and infrastructure proposals, they're bringing things to pakistan. electricity and gas. >> there are very important things that pakistan can do. i don't really have that right mix of how do we, what are the right incentives to do that. i do think that is one of the things the administration needs to sit down and think through.
part of that will be again engaging consistently and seriously with the pakistan government and seeing if they -- if through what you say and do, you can get them to be more serious about their commitments. the peace process, and more related to them than they have been consistently in the past. >> you want to add anything? >> no, i think that's right. >> we look forward to comments. i know a lot of people are knowledgeable in this area. as we've seen just a broad range of things in pakistan. the role of china, various regional players.
the political military element. please identify your sself. >> i'm counselor at the embassy. i thank the panelists for talking about afghanistan. there's unpredictability in international affairs and within the u.s. government. as the ambassador said, there used to be lack of clarity on our issues, i think that is partly because afghanistan was not very much involved on important or bigger discussions when it comes to our region.
or the country itself. it could be part of those discussions, in two ways, afghanistan could provide perspectives that would be very useful for taking an approach. as i said afghanistan can define those complexities and can put forward an agenda that could be beneficial for all parties. at the end of the day, afghanistan has -- a country that has been suffering from instability for decades. and we know that it is the instability in afghanistan that's mostly external in nature. original solution, afghanistan should be more involved, afghanistan's voice should be heard most frequently in order to encounter the solution for this beneficial in our region.
i think it's good we have friends like the ambassadors and also scott who are in a position that could inform the public. and also -- >> thank you very much. >> i don't know if anyone would like to comment directly on those remarks. we certainly appreciate your perspectives, everyone agrees that the afghan role and afghan's voice is important. >> richard from the stinson center, another prominent scholar here. famous work on the modern
strategy. and of course at the heart of that, is creating new economic relationships for afghanistan across the region, but to improve the conditions toward the negotiated peace settlement that many of you refer to as the medium solution ambassador wayne acknowledging the difficulties on trade and transit with countries like pakistan. many regional platforms that the united states was central to initiating the heart of asia, process that ambassador cunningham has been a key leader on. the u.s. strongly backed that. and carrick and scott referred to important countries like china. and the one belt one road initiative. how do we leverage that to afghanistan's advantage. >> not surprisingly, i'll say yes, i do think.
this is important. we have their representative in washington here. they've played a very important role continuing to play that role. i think the role in the outside players and development banks is facilitating, making it easier for partners to agree and making things happen. we know that there are some challenges with some of those regional governments and getting them to lift some conditions they've had that have limited who can own various pipelines and how they can go forward, there's room for diplomatic persuasion there. even though they're hard people to persuade, clearly this has gone on for a while. increased attention would be a good thing.
by the other partners who are going to benefit. but giving it a little higher level attention in the united states. i think might help persuade those governments to move ahead also. i think it is true, the other factor that's important to recognize is china's decision to follow this strategy from china to europe, a big investment of effort on their part. and i think it does behoove the united states and others to be involved in these kind of mega infrastructure strategies, we do have important interests both not just economic but strategic, how the network develops in the region. i would agree with that, i would amplify that the regional
trade in connect everybodity has been a theory for a long time. it makes me wonder, as you look to new administrations inevitably do. what can we throw money behind, what can we put on a 100 day agenda or year long agenda. and, you know, i don't think that actually making the connections whether it be the electricity projects that are underway, or the gas pipeline project that's been talked about for a long time. i don't think any one of those are going to transform the calculus of pakistan and the peace agenda, having something concrete actually starts delivering either megawatts or gas or trucks and trade to pakistan from afghanistan. and not just dismiss it if you're a political leader. you actually see the benefits,
there's hope and it's worth analyzing and choosing one. i don't know which one that is. too often i think we put them all on the same, we haven't prioritized, they're all in various states of undone, we push gradually. maybe prioritizing one is useful. there was one material connection that was made in iran, where indian trade can go through iran over land to afghanistan, that was hailed as a significant achievement of the afghan government. i don't know what the numbers are, there's one example where the political conversation changed as a result of that deal, so maybe that's a model for future ones to change people's thinking on both sides of the border. >> this is one of the arguments
we and others have been trying to get across. to islamabad for a long time. there's a positive perspective for pakistan in all of this. there's a positive future economic prospect. the road has not been and is not developing in fact, what's happening is alternatives are being explored that go around pakistan for a variety of reasons. one of the things that i would hope in this new review that i called for would be to sit down and find a way on the positive side of the agenda to explain to pakistan what that region could look like in ten years.
the infrastructure development we've been talking about now for at least a decade, china is willing to put serious money on the table. that's a big change. we ought to be able to figure out how to to leverage that. i agree with the counselor in afghanistan, that is increasingly confident and stable and is a contributor to development and stability in the region. it opens up a whole different prospect. for pakistan and other countries in the region that doesn't really exist right now and hasn't existed. we can help, we americans can help find a way to develop this different alternative vision in a way that we might be able to go to people in pakistan and elsewhere in the region and say, look, this is the kind of thing we can help produce a decade from now. >> if i might just interject, i heard the word chabbahar mentioned, and i heard a couple
people react to that. does the fact that the chabbahar port is going-forward, that that personally could bypass pakistan. does that change the dynamic in some ways that might put pressures on pakistan that could be positive? or does it. how does that figure, you know the possible evolution of the chabbahar port. >> you look at pakistan's set of needs, they need energy and that doesn't change with that port. >> if you can get them electricity or gas or oil from a different source, i think that would be a big plus to them, i think that continues as a benefit. >> i don't know if you want to say anything from the perspective of the -- >> we'd love to hear your thoughts. >> not on chabbahar but the regional structure projects.
>> i fully agree that if groups like adb could do anything useful that would help afghanistan and might allow things to improve, that getting adequate reliable electricity into pakistan is key. i've heard, i've read about, for example employment opportunities in textile mills in pakistan, if oath there were adequate electricity, and the numbers, and i forget exactly what they are, they're in the hundreds of thousands, it's really astounding, and by implication, the effect that could have on the relationship between pakistan and some of its neighbors, if the economy in pakistan were to grow, and employment opportunities were to be created and people had alternative livelihoods in some of the things they do today. that's the kind of dynamic i think -- or the change in
dynamic that's needed to see things progress the way we all hope. so i think adb's view is that we're doing everything we can to get electricity into pakistan via afghanistan, i think it will become a center in trade for electricity for the sub reason, it's easier said than done, it's going to be expensive, but of all the things going on, i would think that electricity may be development of railways, improved telecommunications, opening the borders to free movement to people, goods and vehicles, or freer, let's say. all of these things are doable. it's just a question of resolve, i think to see them happen more quickly than we're seeing today. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. clearly there's a multilateral dimension in this. and just thinking about the role
of japan and korea, particularly japan, one might 'spos also working through multilateral institutions to help to facilitate regional solutions would be a major contribution that those countries could make also. >> more questions, please. >> is i'm interested to talk on the peace agenda. >> as everyone knows, peace and negotiation efforts didn't work. and we believe that the taliban are not independent, they are controlled by pakistan, and pakistanis are utilizing them as a tool for a strategic depth. so unless pakistan is not ready to come to negotiation table.
we cannot end or go anywhere with the peace process. and i definitely agree with the change of calculus of pakistan what would be the incentive to change in terms of the strategic depth in afghanistan. >> well, as i have mentioned, i didn't go into detail, and tony picked it up too. in a paper recently that a bunch of us, some senior people who had been involved in afghanistan over the last years did in september in which you could find on the atlantic council, brookings and rand websites. we looked at what we thought collectively a new administration should take up -- this was before the election obviously. should take up and should look
at in afghanistan. all of us who participated in that, the only thing we couldn't agree on, is what to do about pakistan. >> and the -- we all agreed that the policies that this administration and previous administration had pursued did not achieve the desired effect from our point of view. and that continuation of that kind of approach was going to keep producing the lack of performan performance. we couldn't come together on agreement even if there was a new approach to pakistan that would work. there was some thought we had tried everything, and there wasn't a new way forward. i'm not of that view, by the way. we could not produce an agreement on what new agenda or
new agreement we could indpus pakistan to do plans, desires maybe do for the last five or six years. that's going to take some serious thought, the reason that that is the case, we have a complicated relationship with pakistan, we the united states, have a complicated relationship, and it's an important relationship with an important country. we need to, there are many conflicting aspects of that relationship, so pushing or pulling on the relationship produces results in positive or negative results in other areas of the relationship. i believe that we owe it not only to ourselves but to our partners and to the afghans and to the pakistanis to find a way
to get them over the hump to actually start acting on what they have been telling us for years they agree on. which there is no distinction between good or bad terrorists. all of them need to be dealt with. and yes the real threat to pakistan is from islamic violent extremism, it's not from india, and it's not from other countries. and yes a stable afghanistan is a good thing for the region and for pakistan. >> if we hope in any foreseeable future to get out of this conflict and start building a better future for the region i think all of us can foresee, we need to find a way to get over that conceptual hurdle and get pakistan to act against the taliban leadership that
continues to enjoy its safe haven and be active and other places, and to act and curtail the abilities of the hakanni's to use that as a base. if we cannot find a way to do that getting to any kind of stability in afghanistan, let alone a peace agreement, is going to be immeasurably more difficult. >> thank you, scott. >> three thoughts quickly on the reconciliation process. one, in terms of changing the approach to pakistan, i totally agree, it's a difficult problem and nothing has worked how to link pakistan's concerns with india. that is a complicated argument.
pressuring pakistan with threats they perceive on the part of india hasn't produced that much positive reaction, showing opportunities of cooperation that might be a better way to go. the other thing with pakistan and the taliban is try to make pakistan less relevant to the peace process, we've i think afghanistan's tried the approach. try to get pakistan to help them bring the taliban to the table and work, how can relations or negotiations directly with the taliban be facilitated so pakistan doesn't have a blocking role. how to make the taliban less
relevant and less of a factor. in this regard, the asia foundation showed record low, lack of support among afghans -- if the government can improve. the taliban will have a weaker hard to play in negotiations. >> we have a question in the back i believe. >> thank you so much for the panel -- i agree with the civilian and also military option. and also the -- for the
neighborhood countries in afghanistan. besides all of this, my preference of social development and social inclusion. based on my experience as afghanistan have so many tribal and ethnic divisions. and language divisions. which one of the cause for the social conflict and ethnic and tribal conflict in began stan. i think this is one of the main cause for instability in afghanistan. so how the afghanistan government would be able to overcome this tribal and social conflicts. i know this is their long term strategy. it's really important.
and there's also a gap between the afghanistan government, it's the gap of trust. between the government and the people. at the same time, the people and the united states government, people of afghanistan. so how you will support afghanistan government to make or bridging the relationship. >> this is a major challenge. it's one that we have been as partners, working with the afghan government for the last 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years. especially as the gaps became clearer.
it's not easy for sure at its essence, i suppose it goes back to what we called service delivery providing showing that the government can provide good things and not just bad things, vis-a-vis corruption of local officials and others. they have been the areas where there have been the most significant improvements, but if you in fact look at this, which you probably have. this last survey of the afghan people, you find that security has dropped at all levels. the government knows this and that is the reason for some of their commitments to donors to
have a series of benchmarks. they need -- clearly there's a big space for continued investment in ago culture to provide more food and jobs, as you know afghanistan faces a youth bulge they're going to need jobs. you want to ed indicate as many of those as you can to a high a level as you can. you need to provide jobs for them in the near term. i think the kinds of programs and opportunities that will create jobs is one very essential part of this. having an electoral process that functions is going to be part of
this too. the combination of course of unhappiness among ethnic groups is a combination of a lack of opportunity. they aren't represented or participating or when they have participated it's not produced good results. you have to have that participation channel working better at the same time there's no two or three magic keys to all of this, it's working in a series of areas and with the goal, with the clear method of having measurable achievements along the way, that are bringing these benefits to people and i think you will minimize ethnic problems and others if you are actually delivering goods and services that a government is supposed to deliver. and at the very base is
providing security, you can't develop the economy or maintain the instra structure if you don't have security in that area. it shows you half to keep working in each of these areas, with the understanding that your point is an essential goal for the government of afghanistan. >> i would underscore that last point of security. in my recent visit, i think that ethnic tensions and ethnic identity in politics is increasing, one of the reasons is because of the security situation across the board is decreasing, people revert to core groups and core beliefs under these circumstances. the more security can be improved i think that is really a baseline for ending the problems that you identified.
>> if i could just add, i agree completely about the integral role of security here, i also want to note something that has become a pet theme of mine, which is the -- your question suggested that the internation community or the united states could deal with these afghan problems i think we need to take a more realistic view about what role the united states can play in resolving these very important afghan issues and acknowledge that this is something that afghans themselves need to figure out politics is messy and can be a dirty business as we've seen in this country. over the last couple months. and it's not -- no less true of
afghanistan and the political situation as it now exists. i don't think it's at all unexpected that the afghan people are disappointed in their government i know many people in the government are disappointed that they haven't been able to find a way to make it operate more effectively and more efficiently. the good news is in my view, since i'm an optimist, they're continuing to try to find a way, and they are making forward progress and they are finding ways to deal with issues as they go ahead. they do understand there's not any better way. under this government, despite all of its problems and all of its difficulties. and it is really in my view,
fundamentally up to the afghan people, to demand that its government perform and deliver. that is happening, i hope it will continue to happen. i'm encouraged by the reality that in the elections in the presidential elections, millions of afghan men, women, many children went with them went to the polls twice to vote. many people thought they were in peril doing so. it's a positive sign of public engagement, a commitment to a political process, that should be encouraged, i hope that all afghans in afghanistan and outside and their leaders will find a way to build on that spirit. that is to my mind the key to the future of the country.
>> we heard three eloquent summaries, i think we've learned many things. starting with the importance of clarity that ambassador cunningham mentions at the very beginning was echoed by our other participants. the importance of the regional context particularly in terms of economic development. the role of pakistan changing the incentives of the key parties. and then the fact that this is not only sort of a version of the great game again with the national governments, but the role of multilateral institutions such as the asian development bank. also from a longer term perspective is important. i think we've all learned a lot. i know i have certainly. i think we should give our three participants a hand.
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contest rules, go to our website, studentcam.org. now, a look at potential congressional legislation on infrastructure and investment into entitlement programs. representatives rosa delora of connecticut took part in this 45 minute talk hosted by the brookings institutions. >> i was about to say we saved the best for last. but i was afraid i'd get assaulted by all the excellent presentations we had before. neither congressman delora or congressman reid don't need any introduction whatsoever. i was also haunted by something